For the third time in series history, the Big 8 Late Model Series returned to Hawkeye Downs Friday night for “Clash at the Downs III” presented by McGrathAuto.com. And for a third straight time, fans in attendance saw a show they won’t soon forget.
Rosemount Minnesota’s Joe Neisius, along with inaugural ‘Clash at the Downs’ winner Caleb Adrian, started on the front row for the 48 lap feature. While Neisius held his ground early, Adrian was able to make the pass for the lead just three laps in.
Adrian held the lead unchallenged until last year’s event winner, Michael Bilderback, made his way forward to battle the leader. As the two battled side-by-side for multiple laps, Alburnett, Iowa’s Brody Willett stormed forward to meet them, looking for a piece of the front as well.
The laps clicked off as the three leaders jockeyed for the top positions. Bilderback eventually slipped back leaving Adrian and Willett to battle for the lead. Both Adrian and Willett have already captured weekly feature wins at Hawkeye Downs and have had their share of close calls already in the weekly series.
The battle for the lead continued to be strong, as neither driver backed out as lapped traffic occurred, going three-wide and making contact several times.
Finally, with seven laps to go, more contact was made, and for the second year in a row, Adrian found himself in the turn one wall. After the incident, Adrian drove his damaged car away, eventually pulling next to Willett and finally spun Willett on the backstretch under caution. Adrian was retired for the night, regulated to 25th place, while Willett would go to the tail end of the lead lap, finishing the race in tenth.
When the dust settled, Neisius came out above the chaos and was able to held off both Griffin McGrath and Bilderback to win the “Clash at the Downs”. Tim Sargent ended the race in fourth position, while Farmington Minnesota’s Ryan Kamish rounded out the top five.
“Clash at the Downs III” presented by McGrathAuto.com
1. Joe Neisius Rosemount, MN
2. Griffin McGrath Cedar Rapids, IA
3. Michael Bilderback South Beloit, IL
4. Tim Sargent South Beloit, IL
5. Ryan Kamish Farmington, MN
6. Jeremy Miller Rockford, IL
7. Justin Neisius Eagan, MN
8. Brian Gibson Walford, IA
9. Wayne Freimund West Allis, WI
10. Brody Willett Alburnett, IA
11. Mark Lamoreaux Bloomington, MN
12. Brad Osborn Janesville, IA
13. Matt Lundberg Rockford, IL
14. Greg Borchardt Prior Lake, MN
15. Jacob Zellmer Burlington, WI
16. Jerry Mueller Richfield, WI
17. Scott Siems Cedar Rapids, IA
18. Tyler Brown Carol Stream, IL
19. Mike Lloyd Davis, IL
20. Mark Greb Coralville, IA
21. Jacob Vanoskey Hartford, WI
22. Jared Duda St Michael, MN
23. Chad Siems Shellsburg, IA
24. Tyler Hromadka Brookfield, WI
25. Caleb Adrian Walcott, IA
26. Tyler Kingery Prior Lake, MN
27. Cody Kippenhan Ypsilanti, MI
Preliminary Winners: C Siems, Mueller, Neisius, Adrian
Fast Qualifier: McGrath
Entries: 27 Big 8 Late Models
Current Big 8 Late Model Series Points
1. Michael Bilderback 240
2. Jeremy Miller 213
3. Tim Sargent 205
4. Brody Willett 171
5. Wayne Freimund 149
6. Jerry Mueller 133
7. Jacob Zellmer 130
8. Ryan Kamish 128
9. Griffin McGrath 120
(TIE) Tyler Brown 120
Big 8 Series Press Release. Photo Credit: Guy Adams